On the surface, “LIFEL1K3” appears to be just a post-apocalyptic world filled with sentient AIs, but as the story comes together and memories of our main character bubble to the surface, readers will discover it is much more than that.
With a merry band of underdogs to cheer for — Eve, Cricket and Lemon Fresh — LIFEL1K3 is off and running with sketchy memories and a mech tournament in the WarDome. Eve and Lemon Fresh are kickass fighting girls bent on making their own way in the world. Willing to do nearly anything for credits to pay for Grandpa’s medications, they are best friends with their own slang that has developed over many years of friendship.
Tagging along with them on their adventures is Cricket. A smaller robot who attempts to keep them on the straight and narrow with his own brand of “Jiminy Cricket-isms” that fall firmly in line with the Three Laws of Robotics developed by Isaac Asimov.
l A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
l A robot must obey orders give it by human beings except where such order would conflict with the First Law.
l A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
With the introduction of Cricket, readers may start to recognize some elements of LIFEL1K3 are strikingly reminiscent of Pinocchio. In fact, shortly after the story begins, our merry band of underdogs end up in the belly of a whale-like creature developed by one of the tech corporations to collect elemental particles, used to develop and build their technology, from the worlds’ oceans.
But LIFEL1K3 isn’t just a Pinocchio retelling. Eve’s sketchy memories tell another tale and the unwanted appearance of the coin-operated boy, Ezekiel, or Stumpy, another classic legend begins to emerge.
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With flashes of her mother, father and siblings rattling about in her head and Ezekiel insisting her name is Ana, Eve’s memories of her family being alive, and her unusual survival coalesce and lead to her discovering some life altering secrets about who she is and what her place in the world might be.
As Kristoff weaves Eve’s journey to learn the truth behind her memories and as Eve come into her own, readers will discover reflections of the story of Anna Anderson and the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the daughter of Tsar Nicholas of Russia, whom it was rumored survived the brutal massacre of her family in July 1918, along with additional ties to the Pinocchio fairy tale. The mash-up of these two classic tales is uncommon, but as Kristoff ties everything together, readers will discover the similarities in the stories and the themes that they both share.
For the last few years, the world of young adult fiction has been rife with fairy tale retellings. Kristoff’s LIFEL1K3 combines two classic stories, adding twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the end.